Online Crash Analysis

When the WerFault utility executes during logon, as a result of having configured itself to start, it checks the HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting\KernelFaults\Queue key to look for queued reports that may have been added in the previous dump conversion phase. It also checks whether there are previously unsent crash reports from previous sessions. If there are, it launches WerFault.exe with the –k –q flags (the q flag specifies the usage of queued reporting mode) to generate an XML-formatted file containing a basic description of the system, including the operating system version, a list of drivers installed on the machine, and the list of Plug and Play drivers loaded on the system at the time of the crash.

If configured to ask for user input (which is not the default), it then presents the dialog box, which asks the user whether he or she wants to send an error report to Microsoft. If the user chooses to send the error report, and unless overridden by Group Policy, WerFault sends the XML file and minidump to, which forwards the data to a server farm for automated analysis, described in the next section.

The server farm’s automated analysis uses the same analysis engine that the Microsoft kernel debuggers use when you load a crash dump file into them (described shortly). The analysis generates a bucket ID, which is a signature that identifies a particular crash type.
The server farm queries a database using the bucket ID to see whether a resolution has been found for the crash, and it sends a URL back to WerFault that refers it to the OCA Web site ( If configured to do so, WerFault launches the Windows Error Reporting Console, or WerCon (%SystemRoot%\System32\Wercon.exe), which is a program that allows users to interface with WER for receiving problem resolution and tracking information as well as for configuring WER behavior. When browsing for solutions, WerCon contains an Internet browser frame to open the page on the WER Web site that reports the preliminary crash analysis. If a resolution is available, the page instructs the user where to obtain a hotfix, service pack, or third-party driver update.

Source of Information : Microsoft Press Windows Internals 5th Edition

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